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review 2018-10-18 19:44
Sometimes it's a fine line between love and obsession...
No Tears for Darcy - Vicki Reese,Brock Hatton

It's a fine line between love and obsession...

 

Cameron's trying to get over the loss of his loved ones but it's hard when the people you care about keep dying...first it was his parents, then his boyfriend and now his friends seem to be falling victim to this mysterious curse that's following him.

 

Pete Minchelli is recovering from an injury sustained during his job so he's come to visit his family and friends as he heals and begins to consider his growing discontent with the direction his life has been going in. When Pete's friend,Will Carson, from his academy days ask for help with a case that brings Cameron into his life. Ultimately Pete's confusion over things is only compounded.

 

Pete and Cameron are drawn to each other from the moment they meet and as the story progresses their attraction grows increasing Pete's resolve to keep Cameron safe and find a way for them to remain in each other's lives. Along with his growing attraction Cameron is trying to deal with his past and the wreckage of a relationship that

he's quickly beginning to realize is was even more less than ideal than he had ever thought it could be...as an ever increasing number of lies and deceptions are revealed. As the number of lies and deceptions his relationship was based on increases, so do the number of bodies. It begins to seem like there's one secret that someone's willing to do anything to hide...leaving everyone wondering if anyone is safe from Cameron's stalker...even Cameron himself.

 

There was a lot about this story that I really enjoyed but unfortunately for me there was one thing that really detracted from it and that was the fact that I figured out who the stalker was far to early. While this doesn't always bother me in this case the story was too dependent on the mystery aspect of things and I really needed for the story to have kept me guessing longer than it did. 

 

I liked both of the MCs and as a couple, for me, they worked. Next add in some interesting secondary characters and this should have worked better than it did. However, even though I was able to figure out the mystery part of it earlier than I would have liked and for me that did take away from my over all enjoyment of things I also think the fact that I still gave this 3.5 stars speaks to the fact that there is still a good and enjoyable story here.

 

Now at this point your probably thinking 'who the hell is Darcy?' or maybe even 'Is there a Darcy?' well I will tell you there is a 'Darcy' in this story but what I'm not going to tell you is who they are or what role they play. So if you're curious about Darcy you'll need to either read the story or listen to the audio narrated by Brock Hatton.

 

As well as my first time with this author 'No Tears for Darcy' was also my first audio experience with Brock Hatton and it appears to be this narrator's first audio narration. I have to say I was suitably impressed and look forward to seeing what future efforts will produce. I think my only real concern with this book from an audio perspective was that at times, mostly at the beginning of a chapter, it felt like the narrator was reading a little fast almost like his voice was in a race with a stop watch. This was not a really big variance and honestly some people may not even notice it, nor was it consistent which is probably why I did notice it because as the narrator progressed in the reading his voice seemed to level out into a slower more natural rhythm that combined with the individual voices and their expressiveness that I quite enjoyed. While I was definitely impressed with this first time effort, I'm also looking forward to following this narrator and seeing how he progresses and what future narrations his talents will enhance.

 

The ending for this story is more of an HFN (Happy For Now) with strong potential for an HEA (Happily Ever After) and while I would have preferred a more solid HEA I can see it happening based on where this story leaves us but I can't say I wouldn't be interested in reading a little more about Cameron and Pete and finding out just what else might happen on their way to happily ever after.

 

*************************

An audio book for "No Tears For Darcy" was graciously provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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review 2018-10-18 00:20
ARC Review: Lincoln's Park by Parker Williams
Lincoln's Park - Parker Williams

I read this book, finished it, and then immediately read it again. That basically NEVER happens, but with this book, I couldn't help myself.

Noel is a young man who was kicked out of his home by his ever so loving parents when he told them he was gay. He was lucky in that he found a place at a local shelter, where he's been living and helping out for the past three years. In need of a job, any job, he stops in Lincoln's diner.

Lincoln is quite a bit older than Noel, with a very different backstory, which we find out as the book progresses. He loves cooking and taking care of people, and he treats his employees like family. One look at the forlorn young man asking for a job, and Lincoln can't help himself - the need to pull the young man into the folds is immediate. 

Noel has no idea what hit him - surely nobody can be that decent and kind to someone they don't know at all, right?

I liked both characters immensely, and also the supporting cast - the other employees at the diner, especially Katy, and Robert who runs the shelter where Noel has been staying. However, Lincoln's brother and father - I wanted them to hurt, and badly, but obviously I wasn't supposed to like them. 

Noel is still young, and despite the last three years being really rough, he hasn't lost his sweet kindness, his youthful innocence, his positive outlook. He's fascinated by the older Lincoln, but also has no intention of falling for his boss and being out of a job. Except he doesn't realize that Lincoln feels the same, and that they are well matched despite the age difference and the difference in their life experiences. Lincoln's history plays a huge role in who he became, and he's reluctant to reach for Noel, scared to some extent that he's no good for the younger man. Thank goodness for Katy who gives them the push they both need. 

What struck me most here is that the author created complex and fully developed characters - Lincoln had some layers that ran much deeper than I initially expected, and Noel has an inner strength I didn't expect from someone so young. 

There's a moment toward the end of the book that may be confusing for some - without giving away the plot, I can't really say much about it, but suffice it to say that if you pay attention to what comes before, you will not be confused at all, or even wonder what just happened. 

The BDSM-Lite aspect of the relationship was well done and rang true, and I liked that the author utilized it as a source of some conflict that the two men have to work out, which actually strengthened the relationship.

What is emphasized time and again is family - the one you're born to and the one you choose and make for yourself. Family, even if not by blood, is what binds Lincoln and Noel and Katy and Jesse and Robert and all the others. Even Lincoln's brother, who by book's end seemingly has second thoughts about how he's been acting. I have it on good authority that his story will be told in a future book. I cannot wait! 

But what really permeates this book is love. There is so much tangible, obvious love in every word on every page, and you are cocooned by it, warmed by it, embraced by it. 

I think it's that feeling of love that prompted me to read the book twice in a row, and I highly recommend that you get yourself a copy as soon as you can.

It's available now.


** I received a free copy of this book from its publisher in exchange for an honest review. **

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text 2018-10-17 16:59
Challenging myself this 2018 (tracking post)

12 classics from my TBR

 

Most years I manage to read a dozen or so of some form of classic, but just to keep on track and maybe try to stay within of what's ALREADY THERE in my TBR

 

  • Eugenie Grandet by Honerè de Balzac (22/1)
  • Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen (16/8)
  • The Tennat of Wildfell Hall by Anne Brontë (22/8)
  • O Pioneers! by Willa Cather (25/8)
  • The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman (1/9)
  • Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad (8/9)
  • North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell (11/9)
  • The Valley of Fear by Arthur Conan Doyle (17/10)

 

Other Countries, Other Languages

 

I've noticed I'm reading a lot of works originally written in English (somewhere around a 9 in 10 at least). A bit because England and USA have a long and healthy publishing history, with a lot of classics and pop-culture exponents to their soils. Some, because English is an easy common ground language-wise, and forums like these tend to exchange in it, either opinions or recommendations. A good deal because the market is flooded with them.

But I want more perspectives, different styles and backgrounds.

So I'll start shooting for 20 or so from my TBR and we'll see (availability might be an issue)

 

  • Dante Alighieri, La Divina Comedia (need to retrieve from hometown)
  • Jorge Amado, Grabriela, Clavo y Canela (just bought it! so happy!)
  • Aristophanes, Lysistrata
  • Roberto Arlt, Los 7 Locos
  • Honerè de Balzac, Eugenie Grandet (1/22)
  • Enrique Barrios, Civilizaciones Internas (I'm so happy about this one! I read the first two books when I was a kid, and never found them again till now!)
  • María Brandán Araoz, Vecinos y detectives en Belgrano (3/9)
  • Ítalo Calvino, Se una notte d'inverno un viaggiatore (need to retrieve from hometown)
  • Fernándo de Rojas, La Celestina (this one I have on hand, but it's such an archaic Spanish, it gave me head-aches the one time I attempted it. We'll see)
  • Marguerite Duras, L'Amant
  • José María Eça de Queirós, El Crímen del Padre Amaro (reading)
  • Umberto Eco, El Nombre de la Rosa (bought it too, will have leisure to read)
  • Yasunari Kawabata, Meijin
  • Clarice Lispector, Laços de família
  • Cixin Liu, The Three-Body Problem
  • Guadalupe Loaeza, Las Niñas Bien
  • Gabriel García Marquez, El Amor en los tiempos de Cólera (another of the buying spree and mom kept laughing and being amazed by the first third)
  • Facundo Manes, Usar el Cerebro (reading)
  • Haruki Murakami, Kafka en la Orilla (need to retrieve from hometown)
  • Kezaburo Oe, Memushiri kouchi (Pluck the Bud and Destroy the Offspring)
  • Ovid, Metamorphoses
  • Pairault, Suzanne, Verónica, ¿Estrella de Cine? (31/8)
  • Marjane Satrapi, Persépolis
  • Tulsidas, Ramayana
  • Marguerite Yourcenar, Mémoires d'Hadrien
  • Banana Yoshimoto, Kitchen
  • Carlos Ruiz Zafón, El Juego del Ángel


 

25 female authors (20/25)

 

A follow up on this idea (here Themis-Athena explains in English). Shall construct my tentative list from my TBR as much as possible too, and post read books as I go.

 

A

  • Jane Austen: Northanger Abbey (16/8)
  • Margaret Atwood: The Penelopiad (24/8)

 

B

  • Lois McMaster Bujold: I owe to myself to try her. Almost did for Bingo, but couldn't get my hands on one of her books.
  • Octavia E. Butler: Ditto
  • Anne Brontë: The Tennat of Wildfell Hall (22/8)
  • Charlotte Brontë: Shirley and Villete have been there some 7 years too, but I've been procrastinating because I did not care for Jane Eyre when I was a teen.
  • Leigh Bardugo: Ruin and Rising
  • Natalie Babbitt: Tuck Everlasting (21/7)
  • Fanny Burney

 

C

  • Angela Carter: Nights at the Circus (17/10)
  • Willa Cather: O Pioneers! (25/8)

 

D

  • Marguerite Duras: The Lover is one that I've been meaning to read for over a decade but have not yet found a hard copy
  • Jeanne DuPrau: The City of Ember (4/8)

 

E

 

  • George Eliot (Mary Anne Evans): Middlemarch keeps popping (Chist, it's massive)
  • Kate Elliott: King's Dragon

 

F

  • Carrie Fisher: The Princess Diarist (9/8)

 

G

  • Elizabeth Gaskell: North and South (11/9)

 

H

  • Patricia Highsmith: Strangers on a Train (4/9)
  • Georgette Heyer
  • Frances Hodgson Burnett: The Shuttle (26/1)

 

I

  • Laura Ingalls Wilder: Little House in the Big Woods (29/7)

 

J

  • P. D. James: Children of Men (27/8)
  • Diana Wynne Jones: Howl's Moving Castle

 

K

  • Barbara Kingsolver: The Poisonwood Bible
  • M. M. Kaye: The Ordinary Princess (5/8)

 

L

  • Clarice Lispector: I think mom added one of her books to our library
  • Guadalupe Loaeza: Las Niñas Bien
  • Ann Leckie: Ancillary Justice
  • Madeleine L'Engle: A Wrinkle in Time (9/1)
  • Ursula K. Le Guin: The Dispossed (4/1) The Ones Who Walk Away From Omelas (24/1) The Word for World is Forest (26/1) Four Ways to Forgiveness (18/4)

 

M

  • Juliet Marillier: I've heard so amazing things about her, and fantasy is my love
  • Carson McCullers: scared to, but have The Heart is a Lonely Hunter somewhere around
  • Collen McCullough: The Thorn Birds, yeah, another scary prospect
  • Marissa Meyer: Cinder (26/9)
  • Toni Morrison: Funny thing here: I've had it on my "author to try" list for a long while, but thought her male
  • Anchee Min: Empress Orchid
  • Lucy Maud Montgomery: The Blue Castle
  • Ann McCaffrey: Dragonflight

 

N

  • Audrey Niffenegger: The Time Traveler's Wife
  • Anais Nin: Delta of Venus has been waving at me, but I'm unlikely to pick it up this year
  • Amelie Nothomb: another on mom's wish-list that I can't remember if we bought
  • Naomi Novik: His Majesty's Dragon (5/9)

 

O

  • Joyce Carol Oates: Bellefleur is one I took a stab at when I was 14 and never finished. Might rectify this year (and how did I come to the conclusion Joyce was a male name then? maybe my brain associated James Joyce?)
  • Lauren Oliver: Liesl & Po
  • Wendy Orr: Nim's Island
  • Nnedi Okorafor: Akata Witch (10/9)

 

P

  • Charlotte Perkins Gilman: The Yellow Wallpaper (1/9)
  • Eleanor Porter: Pollyana
  • Katherine Anne Porter
  • Barbara Pym: Excellent Women
  • Ann Patchett: Bel Canto
  • Katherine Paterson: Bridge to Terabithia... if I'm feeling brave or wanting a good bawl

 

Q

 

R

  • Ann Radcliffe: The Mysteries of Udolpho
  • Veronica Rossi: Never finished her saga. Might go for it if in the mood for YA
  • Mary Doria Russell: The Sparrow
  • Carrie Ryan: The Forest of Hands and Teeth
  • Jean Rhys: Wide Sargasso Sea

 

S

  • Lisa See: Snow Flower and the Secret Fan (some group discussed a buddy read when I was still on goodreads, and the movie renewed my interest)
  • Alice Sebold: maybe. The Lovely Bones did a lot of noise
  • Betty Smith: A Tree Grows in Brooklyn
  • Dodie Smith: I Capture the Castle
  • Sofia Samatar: Stranger in Olondria (read a short story of hers in Clarkesworld magazine, and oh, my!)
  • Marjane Satrapi: Persepolis

 

T

  • Josephine Tey: Brat Farrar was brought to my attention during the games, and will read as soon as I can get a copy
  • Amy Tan

 

U

 

V

  • Catherynn M. Valente: In the Night Garden is one I want to buy and savor
  • Joan D. Vinge: The Snow Queen

 

W

  • Edith Wharton: pure author faith (even if she rips my heart)
  • Connie Willis: keeps popping up on my radar
  • Virginia Woolf: sure I have a couple of hers back at home

 

Y

  • Banana Yoshimoto: Kitchen is a book that keeps popping up and haven't gotten to yet
  • Jane Yolen: I had Tam Lin on my list, but reading up on her... over 365 books! Woman!
  • Marguerite Yourcenar: Have Memories of Hadrian on my bed-table
  • Chelsea Quinn Yarbro: I'm likely to pick Blood Games for bingo

 

Z

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review 2018-10-14 23:21
City of Brass
The City of Brass - S.A. Chakraborty

First, I would like to say I am glad I had someone read this to me, because some of these names, locations and titles were incomprehensible to me.

 

Now, as for the story, I loved the imagery. The vibrant world and history. But I found this plot wordy and dense. And when it was over, I was also left with a whole lot of unanswered questions. It seemed the plot meandered and snaked, which wouldn't normally be bad. But in this case, I felt like sometimes it forgot what it was trying to convey.

 

The characters were at least varied. We had the leading man, the womanizing secretly gay prince, the uptight warrior, the political king, the snobby princess. This book covered the whole gamete. 

 

If there is a second in this series, I don't know if I will bother with it. 

 

Edit: This is a trilogy. The second is called The Kingdom of Copper, and from the blurb I'm not interested much at all.

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review 2018-10-14 07:17
Tierische Zaungäste bei Vertreibung und Folter
Regen in Moskau - Zsuzsa Selyem

Dieser außergewöhnliche, recht gute und sehr kurze Roman von Zsuzsa Selyem handelt von der Vertreibung und Folter der ungarisch-stämmigen, ehemals wohlhabenden rumänischen Familie Beczásy vom zweiten Weltkrieg bis zum Jahr 1989. Leider hat die Geschichte für mich persönlich nicht ganz so gut funktioniert, da ich aus mangelnden historischen Kenntnissen des Landes und der Lage die vielen indirekten und vagen Andeutungen nicht alle verstehen konnte. Ein Kenner dieser geschichtlichen Hintergründe würde aber sicher begeistert sein. Fast könnte man meinen, die Zensur säße der Autorin noch immer im Nacken, so verklausuliert werden die historischen Ereignisse kommentiert und im Roman angesprochen.

 

Selbstverständlich habe ich mich redlich bemüht, meine Wissenslücken über Google und Wikipedia aufzufüllen, dennoch wurde ich bei vielen dieser indirekten Verweise und Allegorien einfach nicht fündig. So wird beispielsweise auch die Geschichte und die Gerüchte über Ana Pauker, die angeblich ihren Ehemann auf dem Gewissen hat, im Web auch nicht näher erläutert, obwohl natürlich Hinweise existieren. Wie literarisch verklausuliert die historischen Ereignisse im Roman beschrieben werden, zeigt folgendes Beispiel von Tschernobyl, das zumindest jeder in meiner Generation im deutschsprachigen Kulturkreis aus dem Gedächtnis ohne zu Hilfenahme von Lexika identifizieren kann.

Noch ein bisschen Knattern, Melodie, satter Sprecher, dass sowjetisches Atomkraftwerk fertig ist, soi-disant eine Errungenschaft, das sagt der sozialistische Sprecher. Erbärmlich jeden Errungenschaft, für ein paar Jahre Natur besiegt, dann hat sie alles zurückgenommen, dabei sterben Kinder von Strahlung, schicken sie heldenhafte Liquidatoren hin, auch sie sterben von Strahlung …
(Die Orthografiefehler sind der Rolle der Figur geschuldet und passen in diesem Fall punktgenau.)

 

Jetzt stellt Euch mal die Situation vor, die historischen Ereignisse und deren Ablauf überhaupt nicht genau zu kennen, und keine Erläuterungen oder klare Anhaltspunkte zu bekommen, welches Ereignis denn gemeint ist, dann wisst Ihr, wie ich mich oft gefühlt habe. Als wäre ich in einer Community, in der alle dieselben Bücher gelesen haben, von denen ich keinen blassen Schimmer habe. Alle reden in Andeutungen und ich verstehe meist nur Bahnhof. Fast ist es, wie einen Nostradamus-Text zu interpretieren, man könnte auch etwas ganz anderes herauslesen. Im Klappentext – und nur dort – werden die politischen Fakten aber so glasklar angesprochen, dass man auch als deutschsprachiger Leser zumindest weiß, was gemeint ist. Ihr könnt Euch meine Überforderung mit diesem Werk nun ungefähr ein bisschen vorstellen, die aber nichts über die Güte des Textes aussagt.

 

Im Gegenteil, manchmal konnte ich diesen außergewöhnlichen Stil richtig genießen. Ein weiterer innovativer interessanter Ansatz der Autorin ist der Umstand, dass die Geschichte der Familie Beczásy von Schleiereulen, Amseln, Bäumen, Hunden, Katzen, Schmeißfliegen, Eichhörnchen … erzählt wird. In jedem Kapitel erzählt ein anderes anwesendes Tier bzw. Lebewesen die Geschichte der Familie, bringt somit die Familienchronik voran und analysiert so en passant auch die anwesenden Menschen ethnologisch inklusive der politischen Situation. Am ärgsten war die Szene mit den Bettwanzen, die die Folter von Beczásy durch die Securitate kommentieren, das ist nicht nur innovativ, sondern schafft auch zudem noch einen notwendigen Abstand zum Protagonisten, um das Grausame besser ertragen zu können. Die letzte Szene mit dem Eichhörnchenzirkus ist eine der abgedrehtesten Allegorien, die ich jemals gelesen habe und soll möglicherweise – aber vielleicht missinterpretiere ich ja auch – den Tod des Diktators Nicolae Ceaușescu darstellen.

 

Fazit: Ein guter innovativer Roman, der für mich auf Grund meiner dürftigen Kenntnisse der historisch-politischen Fakten einfach ein bisschen zu wenig funktioniert hat. Ich bin mir sicher, Kenner des Landes und der Geschichte werden restlos begeistert sein. z.B. Peter Nádas, der den Roman sehr lobt und die persönlichen Visionen der Autorin als „unsere fürchterliche gemeinsame Geschichte“ bezeichnet. Trotzdem war der Roman auch für mich nicht unspannend und herausfordernd. Ich bin froh, dass ich auch manchmal ein Werk aus einem kleinen Verlag rezipieren darf, das völlig abseits des literarischen Mainstream agiert.

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